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What are the requirements for a man who wants to become a Permanent Deacon?

Applicants for the Diaconate should be men who already demonstrate:

A dedication to revealing God’s love
A sense of self-confidence and self-esteem
A trust and understanding of others
An ability to lead with love and speak the truth
A willingness to learn and grow
A life of prayer

What are the prerequisites to study to become a Permanent Deacon?

The applicant must be no younger than 35 years of age at the time of ordination (and, therefore, no younger than 31 years of age at the time he begins his preparation). The younger man, who may have a wife and family, is especially urged to be very prudent in applying for the permanent Diaconate. The married man’s first responsibilities are to his wife and family, and his work for the support of his family. Nothing - not even the Diaconate - must ever jeopardize his fulfillment of those responsibilities.

An extensive, formal education is not required. An applicant does not need a college degree. It is expected that an interested applicant would have sufficient intellectual ability to fulfill the academic requirement.

If the applicant is married, he must be in a stable marriage and his request for admission must have the full and enthusiastic support of his wife and family. Their support and love must be committed to him if he is to belong to others. If the candidate is not married at the time of ordination, he must accept celibacy as a permanent state of life. If, after ordination, the married deacon’s wife predeceases him, he promises not to remarry and that he will live the celibate life.

The applicant must be a man with a proven record of service to the Church. He must be a person of maturity and stability. Generosity, flexibility, creativity, emotional balance, dedication, perseverance, gentleness, and courage should mark his personality. Overall, he must demonstrate the ability and desire to grow in wisdom, faith and love of God and others.

The applicant must have a wholesome love for, and desire to serve, the Church under the direction of the bishop. As an ordained minister, he must be willing and able to work cooperatively with others and obediently accept the directions of competent authority.

Finally, even though others may recognize the qualities described above, or even though the suggestion to pursue the permanent diaconate may come from another, it is the individual candidate who must have a STRONG PERSONAL CONVICTION OF HIS CALL AND ABILITIES. No one should be ordained simply because someone else wishes it. In short, a man seeking admission to the office of deacon should truly desire that ministry, believe that God has called him, and have already demonstrated that he is a good Catholic Christian and leader.

Additional Resources

National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States

How do I find out more about becoming a Deacon?

Introduction to the Program

Program Information

Frequently Asked Questions